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I’m ready for my close-up. In other words, close it up

Welcome back to George vs the Listener Crossword, home of fine images like the one below.


Looky what I got for reading pleasure (the rice has gone now).  Since I had a little fun at Don Manley’s expense, you can buy his book for apparently all manner of random prices wherever good Crossword Books are sold, or on various reputable online booksellers.  Makes a great, and appropriately-coloured stocking stuffer.

OKeydoke, what have we here – Ferret!  A third outing to the Listener series and the other two can be found under the tags below.  OK, what have we here? A carte blanchish grid with dashed lines, some cells in circles, two letters in some cells, diagonal lines, 180-degree symmetry, extra letters, instruction, features.  OK – Ferret has been to the Mango school of preamble authorship where I showed a friend the preamble and he said “OK, you have fun with that”.  There’s a lot going on here.

Oh, and a film and a nightclub.

Which means it must be Saturday Night Fever!  There’s going to be a huge disco ball made out of all of those diagonal lines, and the dashes look like they’re in the right places.  John TRAVOLTA is going to be there and whoever else was in Saturday Night Fever (was there a co-star?  Apparently Karen Lynn Gorney, who has gone on to do great work in… well various Saturday Night Fever reunion specials and spin-offs).  This is going to be easy, all I have to do is solve the thing.

There is a 1 across and it looks like something ending in BAND… SARABAND?  A trawl through Chambers shows that VARAS is a South American measure so we’re away and there’s an extra L to start.  Convoluted victory on what may or may not be the 1 across test.

OK – there’s a lot of across clues here for a 12×12 – there’s got to be at least two in each row it seems, so SARABAND and whatever is next probably go on the top row.  Let’s see if any downs can fit with them… SILVER, yup, REALIST, yup, ALARMIST, looks like it – ANDVILES.  Hmmm… could have a contender for our three-letters as a symbol.  Ampersand city here we come!

That sounds like a magic start, right?  Problem was it was only a magic start.  After a few runs through the clues, I started slotting in answers, and it seemed there were an awful lot of options for the overlapping letters. I tried using the symmetry and working from the bottom up and the top down, since I’d solved the last five across clues and they seemed to fit nicely with some of the longer down entries.

I’m fading fast here – is there anything I can cling to in the extra letters from wordplay… VALLE???LDDA?HESMOU???N???DDOTS  – something to do with the DASHES and DOTS.  Where are the dots?  Oh, some of those lines are dots, my printer doesn’t make it obvious.  VALLE???LD  What is that?

The downs are looking less promising…


CUT something, presumably.  No burning.

And with that, this attempt came to a screeching halt… I am completely stuck on where to put even some long down answers like SALABLE and GRISSINO.  Well done, Ferret, you have earned this victory!

my working grid for Listener 4319, Feature Film by Ferret

Utter victory to the Listener Crossword and a frontrunner for the hall of shame – 2014 tally:  36-1-7

If you are Karen Lynn Gorney, feel free to let me know how you’re doing, and see you next week when Llig shrives to defeat us.

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